I’m convinced that natural hair is a trial and error process…
I’ve been experimenting with different products and methods since late 2010 when I began transitioning. I honestly regret not experimenting with different haircuts while going through the process of transitioning from relaxed to fully natural hair. No changing the past though.
Eventually I was ready to big chop and rock a fierce TWA. Like anything, when you’re trying something new you want the results you expected. Right? Well I read things like “Oh, when I cut my hair and finally got rid of those relaxed ends, I felt so liberated and free.” Now don’t get me wrong, things like that had absolutely nothing to do with my decision to end my relationship with creamy crack as some call it. I was bored with straight hair and relaxers got on my nerves. It was time for a new journey.
Finally I grasped the courage to cut my relaxed ends. 11 months post relaxer, washing my hair was becoming a hassle and detangling was an experience I wouldn’t wish on anyone. My hair had grown out quite a bit, so it was very easy to see where my natural curls and relaxed ends met. In a spur of the moment decision I decided to allow my mother to clip away those relaxed ends. Of course she’s asking those questions that any mother would with such a permanent decision, but eventually I had her convinced that this was what I genuinely wanted to do.
I absolutely loved my big chop! It was curly, short (I’ve always had at least shoulder length hair), and fun! I definitely didn’t feel different in the ways that others described about their experience, but I did feel different…in a positive way. I decided to send photos to a few close friends and family and received positive feedback on my decision. We all have those Debby Downers in our circles and of course I had those also, but I wasn’t phased. I figured this is my hair, it grows from my scalp, and what I choose to do with it is my decision.
As time passed, I continued to try new styles and products recommended by the lovely natural gals and guys of YouTube. Some styles were a success and others didn’t come out as expected, but I was content with this. I became bored with my TWA. I wanted to try twist outs and have that big fro that I saw other naturals with. I decided to wear protective styles for a few months; box braids, senegalese twists, weaves, etc.
Soon enough my hair was a length that I felt would allow me to try new styles. Braid-outs became my best friend. I loved that they would elongate my curls, but also give me that wild look like a lioness.
I don’t really know what got into me, but one day I decided that I wanted to color my hair. I didn’t go for anything extreme like a platinum blonde, but I did decide that I wanted a burnt orange/rusty color. I loved it! Until the day that I decided to try a roller set. My hair would not lay flat on the rods to save my life. By the way, those curls I attempted to achieve were a major fail.
I soon discovered that color damaged my hair. Everyone’s experience will be different, but personally, I will never color my hair again. My ends were dry and brittle regardless of the many products I tried.
No more henna, rinses, or bleaching for Nia. About six months ago I decided to cut that damaged hair. The length of that hair was somewhere between 6-8 inches. That’s a lot of hair to some, but I would rather have healthy hair that cooperates with me, than dry hair that only acts right occasionally.
Always put the health of your hair first. Do your research before making semi-permanent decisions.
When those styles and products that worked for what seems like the entire natural community don’t work for you, IT IS OKAY! It happens to everyone. Smile and remain positive. Grab some bobby pins and just make it work. Your best accessory will always be your confidence.
Trial and error. That’s the best way that I can describe my natural hair journey.